Aaron Davenport has rammed home a national win.
Davenport, an Eastside Elementary student, brought home first place with a scrap metal sculpture of a ram during the National BETA convention in Florida on June 25-28. Fred, as the animal is affectionately named, was in the Division II sculpture category.
“I didn’t think I was going to win,” said Davenport. “I was surprised.”
The ram held the attention of the judges during the Tennessee BETA Club Convention in Nashville. That convention was held in November and pitted county winners against one another. A first place win at state competition put him in the national spotlight, competing against other state-level winners.
Davenport said hesitation began to seep in when he saw other national entries.
“One had a horse made out of mufflers,” he said.
Davenport is the son of Nathan and Christi.
“After Aaron won,” said Christi, “his brother Matthew said, ‘You are like the best in the USA.’ It was too funny.”
The win was an emotional one for mom.
“We were ecstatic,” said Christi. “I was about in tears. He was like ‘What is wrong with you, mom?’ I said, ‘One day you will understand.’ When we do something good, we feel good. When our children do something good, our heart soars.”
The ram was made from rebar and metal shavings that were generously donated from Tennessee Metal Fabrication in Rock Island, a company which Davenport expressed gratitude toward. His creature was so heavy and sharp, it had to be disassembled, wrapped in cellophane, and hauled to the competition in the back of a Tahoe.
Davenport’s interest in sculpting was sparked by Angela Brock, one of the sponsors of the Eastside BETA Club. She urged his participation.
“Even though I am not Aaron’s mother, the feeling I have toward Aaron’s accomplishments are comparable to being a proud mama,” said Brock.
Brock says this win could be a first for Eastside and Warren County.
“In the past decade he is the only one from Eastside to bring home a national championship from convention,” she said. “He is most likely the only one from Warren County in the past decade, too. I don’t know beyond that. I have worked at Eastside for 10 years and Warren County Schools for 12 years. I have been an Eastside BETA sponsor for four years.”
Winning at the national level now is an accomplishment that might pay off later in the form of college scholarships.